Photo above right. Moving this mob of 50+ hungry, hostile cattle was a bit tricky for just one dog and one old girl, but moved they were. As you can see by these photos Honey was threatened a number of times and by a number of different beasts but she does not give an inch. In typical Koolie style once the task has been set there's no flinching on the deal.
I dont have many photos of Honey working simply because when we worked I was solo and carrying a camera never entered my mind. Now I wish I had of course but then it's only when my daughter is around with her nifty camera that the good shots eem to happen anyway.
Whenever I was asked 'does your Koolie work'? my reply without hesitation was always, 'Hell yeah, she works" She being Honey, the matriarch of Montego.
It was about 2008 when after a time of urban living and my share of adorable little Chiahuahas and Maltys, I decided I wanted a real dog. A dog with legs long enough to walk the steep hills with me or to muster stock and have some real outdoor fun with. I was now living in the the Adelaide Hills and being outdoorsy was in my element.
I kid you not, from the get-go this girl was an amazement. It was as if I spoke dog and she understood English. I could send her in any direction up hill or down dale in the uber steep hills of Lobethal. We were made for each other, we really were. She made many tasks seem so easy.
This beautiful girl just 'got' what I wanted, would go in any direction I signalled or stop in full flight and wait if I asked her to. Not many dogs will do that. Okay, she'd worked stock before, but, as silly as it sounds, I never could whistle and as I had taught my horse to come to the sound of a pea whistle I couldn't use that to communicate with Honey.
So then all my instructions to Honey were in the form of wild arm waving gestures and/or crazy woman yells. She simply understood. Nevertheless, despite my very many shortcomings Honey was a genuine rock star.
In the yard she just knew when to hold or when to push, and I could ask her to sit and guard any open gate if it was too heavy for me, which most were. No stock got past when Honey was on gate guard duty.
I think we made quite a team. What a surprise package she was after trying the other so called 'working dogs'. But I guess I should have known, it's Koolies that work for me in so many ways. Make mine a Koolie any day!
Finding this beautiful Koolie set me in a new direction. Deja vu, I found Koolies again. Honey quickly proved to be much more than my dog, we truly developed a kinship that is hard to explain. She was my best bud, the constant at my side loyal companion, the smile no matter how daggy the day had been, and many were. Anyone who has ever felt this connection to a non human will understand, everyone else probably never can. Fact is, I could not possibly ask or wish for more than this darling girl brought with her.
It would be hard to express just how immensely elated I was to discover that in the time that had passed since my last Koolie Pup died, these wonderful dogs had in fact gained recognition and even a following.
There were actual breeders and fans of Koolies now, and a search of this strange new phenomenen the internet, showed me some stunningly beautiful Koolies doing so many wonderful, incredible activities. I just wish I had known or been in a position earlier to join in on that parade. Hats off to those who led.
This black merle is 'Boof' Honey's sire. I was told he worked with stock transporters and came from Victoria.
'Jo Jo' a tri merle is Honey's dam.
If anyone recognises these dogs and can tell me more about them I would be most interested to hear from them.
My world revolved now around one amazing girl, my Montego Wild Honey, who exhibited all and more of the wonderful traits I remembered of this remarkable breed.
Honey could move sheep gently and quietly or get really serious and tackle wayward cattle like a dynamo, nothing phased her. Then when the dust settled, she'd just chill like a couch potato house pooch. Maybe make a quick trip to the dam, wending her way quietly through whatever stock may be near for a cooling dip. I did notice that Honey tended to 'run hot.' Oh Yeah, Koolies are water babies which sadly is never the same thing as a bath which must be avoided anyway possible.
I can tell you though, when an acquaintance asked if they could borrow Honey to move a small flock of skitty sheep, she would not even go with them. So I happily went with Hon and the job was a breeze. Honey had never worked that paddock before and the sheep had not been yarded there previously. But into the yard they went with Hon pushing around and behind them.
Obviously my Honey was a one person dog just like my original Honey, which tragically turned out to be her downfall.
Photo top, little Kula lives on the Gold Coast now. Photo second down, Lobo ( Montego Takabai now in Canada) and Buzz (working with Scott Dayman of Scotts Coolies.)
Photo right. On left is Zeke with Opal standing on his right. They certainly look like two peas in a pod, almost identical yet
Opie is Buffy's daughter, Honey's grandpup, and Zeke is Honeys son. Both have been so well stamped by Honey.
Montego Wild Honey is the essence of Montego Koolies. And always will be. Til my end I will be perpetuating her bloodline as I know first hand how valuable it is. And I'm not talking money value. Some things are worth so much more than that.
This dog was as tough as old boots and yet as gentle as a lamb. Onlookers have honestly been gob smacked to see her instant transition from soft sookass pet to 'dog at work' with just a word or hand gesture from me.
THIS IS WHY AUSSIE KOOLIES ROCK!
BELINDA JANE WHAN (MontegoKoolies Dogzblogz fb member) I would say they are a working dog ready to spring off the couch for fetch or action at your hint, but just as happy to lounge around if you are. Wherever you are they are one step behind, very loyal. Ours has no interest in meeting other people only has eyes for us.
I tried two or three so called 'working dogs' (non Koolies) but they wouldn't work for me so were found new homes. I'd show them out to a paddock and they'd show me their tail end scooting back to the house. Then one day I stumbled across some Koolies that worked stock at Cudlee Creek, not far from where I was living, and fate led me to a darling Koolie girl not yet one year old.
My passion for the breed was reborn and it really was love at first lick. My son asked me to name her Honey in homage of our original much loved Koolie girl. I was happy to.
I then had to ask myself the obvious. If I wanted a doin dog, why did I not seek out a Koolie in the first instance? Thinking back, it probably never occured to me as I wouldn't have thought they were available anyway. Where would I have started looking?
On 26th May 2014 I lost my best friend.
Montego Wild Honey
2007 - 2014.
R.I.P. my beautiful girl.
Through your progeny you will now live forever.
A FAMILY PORTRAIT.
Honey, her daughter and grandpups.
Honey always stood out in any crowd but in this photo I see something else. While others are running amok and doing their noisy thing around her, the calm contented expression on her face looks to me like pride. Her confident, at peace stance has the air of a contented matriarch surveying her work with great satisfaction, even smugness.
I hope that was what she was feeling that day as this is the last photo I would ever take of Honey.
This little boy I called Ferret because he bounced through the grass just like my son's pet ferret 'Fidget' did. A comical sight.
He lives in Canberra now.
Little Poppy was a rat sized feral kitten I kidnapped when I came across her sunning on a hay roll. She literally grew up with my dogs pretty much raised by Honey and really believed she's 'one of them'.
The hills of Lobethal can be really steep. Behind us (me the red dot Honey the white dot) is not the biggest hill we walked together I got fairly fit but those hill walks did no good for my old back injury.